A research project designed to balance electrical current across banks of advanced lead batteries supporting renewable energy systems has been launched by battery testing firm Electric Applications (EAI).
The 18-month study in Arizona, US, will investigate how balancing the electrical current across large strings of batteries can improve cycle life— a key area of research that will reduce the overall cost of using lead batteries in stationary applications.
EAI’s president, Don Karner, said the goal was to extend the cycle life of these battery systems by closely managing charge and discharge of batteries at a series string level.
He said: “These are effectively new forms of battery management systems designed specifically for lead battery based renewable energy systems.”
Lead battery research group the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI) is backing the project. The organisation’s technical roadmap aims to improve cycle life for batteries in stationary applications to 6,000— up from 1-3,000 in 2018— and charge acceptance to around 95% by 2025.
Dr Alistair Davidson, director of CBI, said: “This kind of research is taking advanced lead battery technology to a new level by marrying intelligent battery management systems with banks of battery storage units. Lead batteries are particularly useful in microgrids and in managing peaks and troughs in demand, such as those experienced in renewable energy systems.”
Energy analysts Wood Mackenzie have predicted a thirteen fold increase in grid-scale storage in the next six years.
However, the analysts told BEST in March that outside of UPS applications, lead-acid had lost ground in the expanding ESS market place that topped 6GWh in 2018.
Xu Le, a senior analyst from Wood Mackenzie’s Singapore office, told BEST at the time that: “Lead-acid doesn’t really have a place in the ESS market in 2020, outside of UPS systems. It is not a competing technology anymore.”
Read CBI’s response to that claim here:
The organisation published its technology innovation roadmap last October with clear goals to improve lead batteries in micro and mild-hybrid cars, and increase partial state of charge and dynamic charge acceptance.
CBI’s list of 2019 projects (most launching this year) include a few that have been delayed due to COVID-19 but should begin as manufacturing and universities start to re-open:
- Exide/ICMA completed
- Borregaard, Cabot, Hammond, East Penn slight delay but due to re-start in late May/early June
- ABC/EAI slight delay, due to re-start late May/early April
- EAI slight delay but progressing again
- UCLA delayed, but progressed well before UCLA closed due to COVID-19
- FHISC/WUST delayed due to COVID-19 closures in Europe
- FHISC/TUB/Ford/Moll delayed to due COVID-19 closures in Europe
- Missouri S&T delayed due to COVID-19 closure
The projects are:
- Exide Technologies / ICMA – Feasibility Study: Neutron Diffraction of Lead Battery Electrodes
- Borregaard Lignotech, East Penn, Hammond, Cabot – Investigation into the Combined Influence of Carbon Black and Organic Expander to Improve Micro-Hybrid Service of Enhanced Flooded Batteries
- ABC/EAI – Feasibility Study: Bipolar Lead Batteries in Automotive Applications
- UCLA – Visualizing the dynamics of carbon-enhanced negative electrodes
- FHISC / WUST – Investigations on the effect of carbon surface functional groups on electrochemical behavior of lead-carbon electrodes
- FHISC / TUB / Moll / Ford – Best practices of cell testing for EFB regarding DCA and high-temperature durability
- Missouri S&T -Developing Electrochemical Optical Microscopy as a Technique for Novel Studies of the Positive Electrode of Lead Batteries
Image: EAI conducts battery testing into parameters such as cycle life for energy storage applications